Aisha Al Sowaidi, merging old experiences and contemporary design.

Aisha Al-Sowaidi is a multidisciplinary designer based in Doha, Qatar.  Her designs are an expression of a local designer towards the fast developing Qatar. Her work incorporates old experiences and behaviours with contemporary design in objects used within the house to maintain the feeling of being home. 


Local people use the Midkhan on daily basis for the house, clothes, hair or body. However, all Midkhans have almost the same form regardless the usage. I designed a series of three different forms of Midkhans focusing on personal usage for clothes and hair in particular. These Midkhans are small in size and have a protective head to protect hair/clothes from the hot charcoal and to also direct the smoke. These Midkhans serve as a personal domestic tool to complete a personal daily chore.


My work is usually inspired by the feeling of nostalgia with a combination of my own memories. This focus drove me to conduct research on human senses and their relation to remembrance. In the course this led me to the sense of smell- the strongest of all senses connected to memory. With this approach I designed a modern Midkhan, not in relation to any specific memory but as an innovative design piece that satisfies the usage of this traditional domestic tool.


Wearing perfume is an important ritual in this region and Oud in particular is very popular in both its forms- oil and wood. The ritual of lighting charcoal and adding Oud to fragrance our homes, clothes or hair is blended into our daily lives.

This made me think of the Midkhan and how its form could change depending on application. I designed several options on how the form can be adapted for smoke to navigate through directed holes for fragrance specific areas.


The Midkhans I designed are a showcase of the multiple ways we use this design object domestically. They are also a symbol of hospitality and welcoming- both hugely important values in Arab culture. I believe that my modern version of the Midkhan which usually is an overlooked object would definitely intrigue attention and facilitate conversation in any space.


More information to this project here .

Check out more about Aisha Al Sowaidi work here:

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